While we all can’t (or maybe don’t want) to look like Rapunzel, a full head of healthy, natural appearing hair generally only serves to enhance natural appearance. Hair loss is not limited to the scalp. Men and women can experience hair loss in the eyebrow area, beard area, and throughout the body.
Hair loss is natural, and healthy individuals lose about one hundred scalp hairs a day. Simple preventions like being gentle with hair care when washing and brushing, avoiding tight hairstyles to not damage hair follicles or pull at hair roots, and limiting the use of harsh products or treatments (like the curling iron) can all alleviate hair loss and hair follicle damage.
In some cases, however, genetics, hormonal imbalances, underlying medical disease, severe stress, or poor nutrition can cause excessive and noticeable hair loss. In these instances, consultation with a medical professional can identify the underlying cause and determine the most appropriate intervention to restore hair growth and appearance (1).
What is hair loss?
Hair follicles consist of the hair bulb which is supplied with blood and receives hormone signals regulating hair growth (known as the hair cycle). From the bulb, hair cells divide and multiply forming the hair shaft. Hair is made of keratin (a hardy protein) and grows upwards from the base (hence the term “dead ends”). Hair typically grows about half an inch per month, however, this varies widely between individuals.
The Anatomy of a Hair Follicle
The density and distribution of hair follicles is slightly different depending on the area of the body. As you’ve probably noticed, hair does not grow on the palms and soles. Additionally, ethnic groups have slight variations to the hair follicle that cause the differences in hair texture and style.
Hair loss occurs when hair follicles are damaged due to external factors (like trauma or stress from tight hairstyles/excessive brushing) or internal causes (like hormonal imbalances or the natural decline in hair cell division seen with aging).
What areas of the body can hair loss affect?
Hair loss can be seen in all areas of the body. Most commonly, hair loss is seen on the scalp and face. Male pattern hair loss and female pattern hair loss are associated with aging and certain underlying medical conditions. Other conditions, like alopecia areata, can cause bald patches on the scalp and in the beard area. Body hair loss almost always denotes an underlying medical condition causing systemic (meaning full body) changes that disrupt the hair cycle or damage hair follicles (2).
How does hair loss differ in men and women?
The most noticeable difference between hair loss in men and hair loss in women is the pattern of loss. Male pattern hair loss typically causes receding of the hairline from the forehead and male pattern baldness (bald patches of the scalp or beard). Female pattern hair loss is usually most noticeable as a widening of the natural part and overall hair thinning. Women with certain underlying medical conditions may have hair loss more consistent with the male pattern.
What are the main concerns related to hair loss?
Hair loss of the scalp is usually the most noticeable cosmetic concern. A common condition called androgenic alopecia causes thinning or baldness in men and women. Men more commonly see bald patches and a receding hairline while women experience thinning hair.
Who may wish to reverse the signs of hair loss?
Men and women suffering from hair loss may consider pursuing treatment for both cosmetic and medical reasons. The frustrations and disappointment that generally accompany hair loss can be safely and effectively addressed with any number of cosmetic procedures. In the case of underlying medical disease, nutritional deficiency, and hormonal imbalance individuals will benefit from consultation with their medical provider to determine if an oral or topical medication would benefit them.
How can someone correct hair loss?
The most appropriate method for hair loss correction will be dependent on the unique concern being addressed, and other individual patient factors. A conversation with a certified provider can determine what is the best solution.
For Bald Spots:
Can occur in both men and women and can be addressed through both surgical and non-surgical methods. Surgical hair transplants like Strip Harvesting (FUT), Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE), and Neograft can provide permanent results with a very natural appearance.
Non-Surgical hair transplants like the ARTAS Robotic Hair Transplant is an outpatient minimally invasive procedure that can mimic the effectiveness and quality of a surgical hair transplant. Injections of nutrient dense plasma solutions like Platelet-Rich Plasma for Hair Loss (PRP), Nanofat and PRP Injections for Hair Loss, and ACell and PRP Injections for Hair Loss stimulate new growth and follicle health. Oral and topical medications that alter hormonal regulation like Finasteride (Propecia), Dutasteride (Avodart), Tofacitnib (Xeljanz), and Minoxidil (Rogaine) can benefit patients suffering from bald spots secondary to hormonal imbalances.
For Receding Hairlines:
Potential candidates can consider both surgical and non-surgical options. Surgical options such as Strip Harvesting (FUT), Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE), and Neograft are all hair transplant procedures that utilize existing healthy hair follicles to promote new hair growth. Additionally, a receding hairline can be addressed with a facial cosmetic procedure known as a Forehead Reduction surgery. This surgery will also serve to alter facial aesthetics and symmetry.
Non-Surgical Hair Restoration includes ARTAS Robotic Hair Transplant which is a completely automated outpatient hair transplant procedure. Outpatient injections of Platelet-Rich Plasma for Hair Loss (PRP), Nanofat and PRP Injections for Hair Loss, and ACell and PRP Injections for Hair Loss can promote hair growth by providing existing follicles with nutrient dense solutions. Numerous oral and topical medications also exist to alter hormonal regulation and production affecting hair growth and hair loss. These include Finasteride (Propecia), Dutasteride (Avodart), Tofacitnib (Xeljanz), and Minoxidil (Rogaine).
For Thinning Hair:
Candidates can consider multiple non-surgical and even at home options. A non-surgical hair transplant like the ARTAS Robotic Hair Transplant can promote new hair growth by re-implanting healthy hair follicles throughout the scalp. Injections of Platelet-Rich Plasma for Hair Loss (PRP), Nanofat and PRP Injections for Hair Loss, and ACell and PRP Injections for Hair Loss can stimulate and promote hair follicle health and regeneration. Daily topical and oral medications can be utilized to alter hormonal synthesis and regulation. These medications include Finasteride (Propecia), Dutasteride (Avodart), Tofacitnib (Xeljanz), and Minoxidil (Rogaine). Additionally, numerous at home laser therapy treatments exist to stimulate blood flow and hair follicle health. These are performed usually daily in the comfort of your home. They include Theradome, Capillus, TriGen+, iGrow, and iRestore.
Hair loss is a common cause of dissatisfaction with personal appearance. Temporary hair loss from a stressful event or weight loss may self correct, however, most common causes of hair loss require intervention to restore hair growth and hair appearance. Both male hair loss and female hair loss can be addressed by numerous interventions ranging from daily pills and at home DIY treatments to professional hair transplants. Even if you don’t need your luscious locks to cascade from a tower, full, healthy, and natural hair doesn’t just look good, it feels good too.
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